Following the Money: How One Organization is Using Data to Improve Aid Transparency on Gender Equality Programs

Open Data Watch & Data2X August 26, 2022

Stakeholders continue to dedicate financial resources to achieve gender equality—but financing alone is not enough. To make meaningful progress on gender equality and improve the efficacy of development aid, financing must be paired with comprehensive technical data on 1) where resources are going; 2) what these resources are used for; 3) how they are used and who benefits from them; and 4) what results they produce. Without this information, it is difficult to understand the impact of gender equality programs and improve the lives of women and girls.

To address this problem, Publish What You Fund launched the Gender Financing Project. The initiative, which analyzes gender equality financing data in Guatemala, Kenya, and Nepal, aims to improve financial and programmatic data on gender-related projects to encourage data use, inform decision-making, and improve aid transparency.

The project involved extensive research and engagement with country advisory committees, in-country consultants, key informant interviewees, peer reviewers, and discussions with experts from donor governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), think tanks, foundations, and inter-governmental organizations. This collaboration was essential in order to effectively improve the quantity and quality of gender-related aid financing data.

Based on their findings and inputs from experts, Publish What You Fund developed a set of recommendations for donors and data platforms to improve aid transparency data on gender projects. They worked closely with gender transparency advocates, NGOs, and the open data community to share these recommendations with key funders and global data publishers and push for more open data for better development objectives and outcomes.

Through these advocacy efforts, Publish What You Fund ultimately persuaded development finance institutions, bilateral donors, and the aid transparency community to commit to fulfilling several recommendations to improve the quality and accessibility of gender financing data. Additionally, aid transparency organizations such as International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) improved the search functionality of their portal to make it easier to find information on financing for gender equality.

Such efforts are a critical step toward creating an enabling environment for more and better data that can improve gender equality efforts. Information about where gender equality resources are going, how they are used, and for whom will enable the international community to achieve equitable and inclusive development outcomes that improve the wellbeing of millions of people around the world.

Gender Financing Project overview
Gender Financing Project video tutorial series
This commentary was drafted by Open Data Watch with support from Data2X and contributions from Jamie Holton, Alex Farley-Kiwanuka, and Sally Paxton from Publish What You Fund.

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